10 Ways to Help You Focus and Unplug From the World

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on, I think we can all agree that it’s a bit of a mess right now.

Therefore, I think it’s important to get off the computer and your devices every once in awhile to recharge from the negativity that’s permeating our news feeds.

Screen addiction is a weird phenomenon and it seems like we’re losing touch with our ability to calm down and relax.

So instead of scrolling your Facebook feed for more terrible news you don’t really need let me give you 10 ways you can unplug and recharge instead.

1. Meditate

This is the first thing I do, 90% of the time, in the mornings after I wake up. It lets me charge my brain to take on that day’s activities. Meditation helps you focus; it can help you respond instead of reacting to the various things that get thrown at you during the day.

Highly recommended. These 10 minutes a day have changed my life to the better.

2. Go for a Walk

I have a dog so I go on necessary walks multiple times a day. It’s actually quite cathartic to get off the computer and just walk around the neighborhood lost in thought.

It’s a different type of recharge, but an important one nonetheless.

3. Leave Your Phone in the Other Room

If you don’t want to be interrupted you should be proactive about it. The biggest disruptor in our daily lives is our smartphone; it can easily derail your entire workflow with an annoying text message, Facebook notification or an “urgent” email.

Turn off your notifications and turn your phone face down on the table while you’re working. Better yet, conveniently “forget” it in the other room.

Also, leave your phone on the other side of the room before bedtime. This is helpful for two reasons:

  • It forces you to get up when the alarm rings. I know from personal experience that If I’m standing upright when I turn the alarm clock off, I’m 98% more likely to stay up.
  • It lets you focus on other things before bed, like reading….or simply going to sleep instead of scrolling Facebook for another hour.

4. Sit and Read

Easily my favorite break activity. I carve out time to read books every day, and it’s my favorite way to learn new things while disconnecting from the computer.

Granted, I DO use a Kindle device, so it’s technically not “unplugging” but it’s close enough.

5. Exercise

Exercise creates energy and mental clarity. Those who don’t exercise are simply at a disadvantage and won’t perform as well.

I’m not saying you need to spend two hours in the gym every day but try to get your blood flowing daily with some form of exercise.

This picture was too perfect not to include in this article.

Even the simple 7-Minute-Workout works like a charm.

6. Create Things WITHOUT Your Computer

Although computers have skyrocketed people’s creativity, we tend to forget that we used to create stuff without a computer.

Although I’m attached to my computer 90% of the time it’s good to find the time to do create something in the analog realm.

  • Write a short story in a real journal.
  • Draw.
  • Write a song.
  • Sketch out a business plan using the Lean Canvas.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.

Those are just a few examples. There are plenty more depending on how ambitious you are.

One of the reasons I mention jigsaw puzzles is because it’s the exact opposite of the rest of my creative endeavors. Jigsaw pieces only go together one way so there’s only a single way to solve them. That’s comforting to me because the rest of my entrepreneurial activities are neurotically endless with so many different creative paths to take.

Puzzles are the exact opposite. They only offer you one way to solve them. There’s no different outcome depending on how creative you are so everyone ends up with the puzzle that’s pictured on the box.

Sometimes that’s a relief.

7. Cook

Spend time learning to cook. It not only helps you unplug from the digital world but you’ll also pick up a new skill.

The most important skill I’ve learned since I really started paying attention to cooking correctly has nothing to do with cooking.

It’s patience.

Correct heat, cooking times and the chemical reactions from food at various heats all take patience in one form or another.

8. Meet Friends and DON’T Look at Your Phones

Remember the last time you were with friends and all you did was stare at your smartphones?

Yeah, that was probably yesterday.

Instead, try to have a conversation that goes beyond the “how’s your week?” and “what are you watching on Netflix?” Try to come up with clever questions and conversation prompts that make meeting friends more interesting.

9. Enjoy the Silence

Some things we just don’t do as a busy society. One of them is the simplest of them all:

Sit and enjoy the silence.

Just listen to the silence and contemplate. About nothing in particular. Shut off your computer and just listen to the world around you.

As I write this there’s an idiot woodpecker hammering on a street sign outside my yard. That’s a dumb thing to do, but it’s funny to think about and if you don’t relax and listen to the silence you’ll never notice the little things that go on around you.

10. Write a Note or a Postcard

My wife surprised me recently with a postcard she sent me, just for fun.

She tried very hard to disguise her handwriting but ultimately it was her inability to lie without chuckling to herself that gave her away. It reminded me of how much fun it is to get real mail these days. We get bombarded with emails all day that we don’t want to deal with, but whenever you get a real letter in the mail you still get excited.

Can you mail something to someone today that’ll make their day better?

In fact, if you leave me a private note with your address I’ll send you a postcard next week.

Change Your Surroundings

Those are ten things off the top of my head for unplugging from the digital world a little bit and learning to focus. Just doing something different without the constant interference of Facebook and email can lift your spirits.

Even something as simple as leaving your computer at home, grabbing a book and heading to the next cafe or park can do wonders for your outlook on life.



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Bjorgvin Benediktsson

I write about music, creativity, and entrepreneurship. My new book, You Get What You Give, is out now. Grab it here: https://geni.us/YGWYG